Jerome Kagan is a psychologist and professor at Harvard University. He was named as the 22nd most eminent psychologist of the 20th century. He has conducted extensive research on the cognitive and emotional development of children and has made claims that ADHD is an “invention” that doesn’t exist. He strongly believes that the disorder was constructed by pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals. Essentially, ADHD is a “hoax”.
Kagan’s view has gained a lot of criticism from psychologists and other medical professionals. However, due to his professional background and expert knowledge in children’s cognitive development, he has continued to defend his viewpoint. He insists that there needs to be a shift in the ways that mental health issues, like ADHD, are handled.
“(ADHD) is an invention. Every child who’s not doing well in school is sent to see a pediatrician, and the pediatrician says: ‘It’s ADHD; here’s Ritalin.” – Jerome Kagan
Children who misbehave or underperform are often diagnosed with ADHD. Kagan criticised doctors, calling them impatient and are quick to hand out mind-altering drugs such as Ritalin. Kagan believes that medication should be a last resort, not the first option. Doctors should investigate the reasons why a child is misbehaving before making prescriptions. He also suggested that children who misbehave should be tutored and given more educational support, not drugs.
Kagan has also implied that pharmaceutical companies invent mental illnesses to make a profit. Some have called his comments reckless. However, Kagan continues to defend his stance on the matter. He believes that more needs to be done to ensure that the health and safety needs of the patient are met. Prescribing drugs based on symptoms is not effective. Instead, he recommended that the entire system of how mental health issues are diagnosed should be reassessed.
Should we blindly trust authorities with our mental health? Check out the ‘Scam of Psychiatry’ video below and find out more.